When Miami's Marlins Park opened in 2012, the most notable—and divisive—feature was "Homer," the audacious outfield sculpture.
When the Marlins have hit home runs, the sculpture comes to life, not unlike the New York Mets' Home Run Apple, or Bernie Brewer's trips down his iconic slide.
The bright sculpture looks pretty ridiculous, so it is not surprising that opinions on it over the last few years have been split. One notable anti-sculpture person: new Marlins' part-owner Derek Jeter.
The New York Yankees' legend is the face of the ownership group that took over the club last fall. He serves as CEO for the team.
According to a new report, Derek Jeter is getting his way, and the Marlins home run sculpture is going away.
The Miami Herald says that Jeter will remove it, as he continues to scrap anything and everything that signifies Jeffrey Loria's tenure as owner.
On the field, that meant trading away MVP Giancarlo Stanton to his hold team, and 2018 MVP candidate Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers, who are currently in the NLCS.
Now, it is on to the sculpture, which some have grown to love (though, most of that is likely ironic.)
After buying the team with partners from Loria last year for $1.2 billion, Jeter sent word he wasn’t a fan of the county-owned sculpture and wanted it gone. The new Marlins front office has plans for a multi-story spectator area there designed for a new standing-room-only ticket that will sell for as little as $10. In its new location outside, “Homer” will still turn on for home runs, as well as at the end of every home win and every day at 3:05 p.m., an homage to Miami’s original area code.
The decision isn't without risk. The sculpture was created by famed sculptor Red Grooms, who vehemently opposes its removal.
The sculptor behind “Homer,” New York’s Red Grooms, opposed moving the seven-story piece of public art, saying he designed it under a $2.5 million contract with Miami-Dade County specifically for its home in center field.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a longtime Loria foe, endorsed Jeter’s plan to move “Homer.” But with Grooms against it, the relocation got complicated. An artist has a right to “disavow” a work if it’s moved, and Grooms urged county officials not to allow his sculpture to be dispatched to a new home.
To get around the artist’s opposition, the Marlins promised to pay Miami-Dade up to $2.5 million if Grooms opts to take his name off the work and render it worthless on the art market. The Marlins were required to pay for county-owned public art under its contract to build the county-owned stadium, which opened in 2012.
Even without Grooms' blessing, it sounds like the sculpture will be gone ahead of next season. It didn't get a ton of work in its final year in the outfield; the Marlins were dead last in baseball with 128 home runs, less than half of the first place Yankees, Stanton's new team. With Stanton in 2017, the Marlins hit 194 home runs.